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Diamond in the Rough

You’ve most likely heard the expression, ‘a diamond in the rough’: the saying typically refers to the good, or positive qualities that are hidden or obscured by an unsightly outer appearance. Merriam Webster defines it as: one having exceptional qualities or potential but lacking refinement or polish

Many of us have seen diamonds glistening in fine jewelry; their beauty, uniqueness and rare qualities can make them extremely valuable. However, these exquisite gemstones don’t start out that way; nothing of a diamond’s beginning appearance would make one think it’s exceptionally worthy as its brilliance is obscured in dull elements. In order for the signature sparkle to be displayed, a diamond is forged under intense circumstances. 

God’s Word is full of symbolism that is evident as He speaks in a language of parables (ref Matt 13). He uses the things in this world to teach us about His character and nature. The process a diamond undergoes is a beautiful picture of the same process we go through in our walk as followers of Christ. As we understand God’s revelatory language in the parables, our nature begins to transform to Christ’ nature.

And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10).

God sees each one of us as diamonds in the rough. Oftentimes, we focus on our shortcoming, or unsightly appearance, thinking we could never be used by God, so we hide from Him. Yet, the Lord told the Prophet Samuel that while man looks at the outward appearance, the Lord looks at the heart (ref 1 Sam 16:7). We start out looking unsightly, but God knows that in order for the dazzling light, hidden within us to shine, we must go through the same intense process of being refined, polished and precisely cut. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is a master Creator and knows exactly how to fashion each of us to perfectly reflect His light and rainbow to others.

Beloved, it is my prayer that as we look at the parable, you will see how God has created you to be a strong overcomer just like a diamond. 

A diamond is made up from carbon, nitrogen and other substances, and is created deep below the earth’s surface under extreme heat and intense pressure. The rock in which it is contained, pops up with magna during a volcanic eruption; it’s this process that makes diamonds one of the world’s strongest substances. [1] 

God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath (Spirit) of life (ref Gen 2:7). The Book of Genesis states that man was made in the image and likeness of God (ref Gen 1:27). Paul said the Rock was Christ (ref 1Co 10:4). Meaning, deep within the Rock of Christ, we were formed, however, because of the fall we have become separated and no longer look like Him. Our original creation has been obscured by the flesh, so we have to be transformed back to that creation.   

As we said, diamonds are formed through intense heat and pressure; the same can be said of the true sons of God. In his letters, Paul talked about the many trials he endured as a messenger of Christ saying: 

“Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance” (Romans 5:3). 

James also confirmed the fact that we would go through temptations: 

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience” (James 1:2-3). 

The disciples understood that the testing of their faith and tribulations were to produce Christ in them, therefore, they welcomed the tests. Paul continued to say he rejoiced in the midst of his sufferings, making up that which was lacking of Christs’s afflictions (ref Col 1:24). The Lord uses pressure in our lives to reveal what character will come out and see if that nature resembles God: just something to think about the next time you’re stuck in traffic while running late, or your company downsizes and has to let you go. Though the trials don’t feel good, the Lord sees them as good [functional] in order for us to examine ourselves, gain wisdom and make the correct adjustments. 

Just as a diamond is formed in the heat and pressure, so are we being formed by the fire. What is the fire? Scripture says God is an all consuming fire (ref Heb 12:29). We know God isn’t a literal flame of fire; it’s actually referring to the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom, the deeper teachings, hidden within His parables. The Hebrew word for flame actually speaks about a cover/veil or a secret. [2] God’s character is covered from us, thus, it’s a secret until we remove the covering to see what’s been hidden. In the Ancient Hebrew language, the word fire refers to a “strong pressing down”. [3] Fire is meant to refine and purify: as seen with gold, silver and precious stones. God, as the strong authority, brings the pressure on our character, when the Word is revealed to us, to see if we truly understand, believe it and walk it out. The fire gets turned up to burn up the imperfections in our soul and purify our works. The strong pressure will reveal if we are doing the work of the Father or our flesh. 

“The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done” (1 Corinthians 3:13).

Those familiar with diamonds will know the 4c’s: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. 

The cut of the diamond is the most complex and technically difficult part of the diamond. While brilliance may be one of diamond’s natural calibers, the cut will determine just how much a diamond’s beauty sparkles. The proportions, facet arrangement and finish define the diamond’s ability to transmit light and intense sparkle. [4] Precisely cut diamonds shine marvelously as the angles let light pass through the crown (or the top) and back. The cut is the crucial element to a diamond’s final beauty and value and gives it that brilliant sparkle everyone knows and loves. [5] When light shines on a diamond, some is reflected off the surface while the rest is absorbed and refracted inside; the way a diamond bends and refracts light is what makes it glitter. The diamond reflects the rainbow because of its ability to disperse light into different colors. [6] Diamonds that aren’t precisely cut have facets and pavilions that do not refract and reflect light as spectacularly, thus making a diamond’s cut the quality that most significantly impacts its beauty. [7] 

“For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intent of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Just like a diamond in the rough, the fiery sword of God’s Word is meant to cut the unsightly flesh from our hearts, and minds. Jesus told the disciples the hearts of the people had grown dull (fat/calloused), they had not been precisely cut, therefore, they were unable to receive the mysteries of the kingdom (ref Matt 13). There is no fire within people who don’t understand the parables. The disciples who walked with Jesus said their hearts were on fire and burned within them when Jesus opened the Word (ref Lk 24:32). When the flesh is gone, the brilliant light within can shine for others.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). 

How do we receive the secrets and mysteries of God’s Kingdom? Hebrews 10:20 says the veil is the flesh, so when the mysteries are opened, we are removing the flesh, or the fat/callous from our heart. This process is the circumcision of the heart that Paul refers to in Romans 2:29. It takes the precision of a skilled surgeon to carefully cut away the hardened areas so our minds can see the deeper things in the Word of God. The High Priests were the ones who cut the fat from the sacrifice, and while we are no longer sacrificing animals, it’s the Apostles who open the Scripture and remove the veil to reveal Jesus to us. 

It’s not just about going through difficult situations: diamonds are precious because of the intense formation process they endure and the qualities that make them distinguished. They are transformed from a simple element like carbon, to a rare, valuable and brilliantly shining gemstone. A diamond doesn’t know its worth, but God wants us to understand how valuable we are and why we have been created, so we can return to that nature. He has called us to go through the veil and back into the realm of eternity with Him. We were made like a hidden diamond – to overcome the outer appearance, so we could shine brightly for others to see. No diamond sparkle will ever compare to those who carry the Glory of God, and when those diamonds shine, the whole world will see the brilliance of God! Hallelujah! Amen!

“And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…” (Isaiah 40:5)

“But [the time is coming when] the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)


  2. Ancient Hebrew Lexicon Bible 
  3. Ancient Hebrew Lexicon Bible

      All Scripture references NKJV or AMP versions

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